The PR Week Awards 2000 provided a great night of celebration and a showcase for the industry. They also provided one or two valuable insights.
The Campaign of the Year - Shandwick's handling of a P&O abortive maiden cruise - was, rarely for the top award, a crisis management effort. It shows what can be achieved by clear thinking under intense pressure and proactive crisis planning. When it came to the crunch, efficient systems were in place to allow P&O swift dominance of the news agenda and control of the inevitable coverage of the abortive voyage. In this, it set a benchmark for the industry.
The awards list also contains a caution for the industry not to rest on its laurels. Despite the quality management of Granada Media's and lastminute.com's IPOs, and the remarkable brand management skills of easyGroup's founder, all three organisations have come under media fire since the judges' decisions were made earlier this summer. Granada Media, the financial award winner, has since suffered a series of PR mishaps, as has the commended lastminute.com, while easyGroup's float, with its limited access for retail investors, has been subject to negative press comment.
Winning an award is a very important indicator of best practice and a necessary boost to staff morale. It is also a benchmark that should be used to ensure that PR becomes a central strategic function at the heart of any organisation.